Comedian Shane Gillis was hired to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, premiering on Sept. 28. Plans changed as old video of a podcast surfaced revealing the comic using language in today’s cancel culture landscape that was offensive, regardless of the context.
Initially, Gillis was one of three new cast members recently added to the show heading into its 45th season. He never made the stage.
🚨 Season 45 Alert 🚨
— Saturday Night Live – SNL (@nbcsnl) September 12, 2019
On Monday, an NBC spokesperson announced SNL terminated Gillis for these racial slurs made specifically revolving around his Chinatown rant and his mocking Chinese accents.
In a press statement, Lorne Michaels and show producers were quoted as saying: “After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL. We want SNL to have a variety of voices and points of view within the show. The language he used is offensive, hurtful and unacceptable. We are sorry that we did not see these clips earlier, and that our vetting process was not up to our standard.”
Gillis was quoted as saying in a CBS News report that sometimes: “comedy requires risk” when asked about his firing.
Who is Shane Gillis?
A native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Shane Gillis is part of the podcast Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast. After college, Shane matriculated his comedy through clubs in the Pennsylvania area until 2016 when he created Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast with Matt Mckusker.
In 2017, Shane was booked on The Bonfire with Big Jay Oakerson and Dan Soder, and also began a weekly show on Compound Media called A Fair One with Tommy Pope.
Recently, he was selected by Comedy Central as a top comedian to watch. Interrobang.com said Gillis was “killing it” in New York, describing Comedy Central’s annual list of comics to watch.
“Just for Laughs has New Faces, Variety has Comics to Watch, and Comedy Central has Up Next. Each of these groups annually showcase who are the young comedians that industry has their eye on and this week Comedy Central named the 18 comics who they are designating as the next crop of promising performers.”
Gillis also ranked high at Montreal festival, Just For Laughs.
Shane Gillis gives off post-jock energy — like someone who used to play a sport in school, then had the self-awareness to realize he wasn’t cut out for it and stopped — but he isn’t bitter about it at all. His friendly demeanor distracts you, while he sneaks in just a whiff of social insight within a barrage of self-deprecating sex jokes.
— Shane Gillis (@Shanemgillis) September 16, 2019
SNL Alums Speak Out
Not everyone thinks firing Shane was a good idea, former SNL star Rob Schneider said:
I think a suspension would be appropriate for someone who is part of an organization that says something terrible in a podcast from a year earlier. An honest,
sincere apology and also accepting it seems appropriate as well. Destroying someone does not.
Jim Jefferies and Bill Burr told David Spade they thought it was an overreaction and laid blame more at NBC’s feet for never hiring Asians to begin with.
— Lights Out with David Spade (@LightsOut) September 17, 2019
The 45th season of Saturday Night Live premieres on Sept. 28.